Don’t Be Evil? — Julian Assange says, “Don’t waste your time!”

“The New Digital Age” is a startlingly clear and provocative blueprint for technocratic imperialism, from two of its leading witch doctors, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen, who construct a new idiom for United States global power in the 21st century. This idiom reflects the ever closer union between the State Department and Silicon Valley, as personified by Mr. Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, and Mr. Cohen, a former adviser to Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton who is now director of Google Ideas…

The book proselytizes the role of technology in reshaping the world’s people and nations into likenesses of the world’s dominant superpower, whether they want to be reshaped or not. The prose is terse, the argument confident and the wisdom — banal. But this isn’t a book designed to be read. It is a major declaration designed to foster alliances.

“The New Digital Age” is, beyond anything else, an attempt by Google to position itself as America’s geopolitical visionary — the one company that can answer the question “Where should America go?” It is not surprising that a respectable cast of the world’s most famous warmongers has been trotted out to give its stamp of approval to this enticement to Western soft power. The acknowledgments give pride of place to Henry Kissinger, who along with Tony Blair and the former C.I.A. director Michael Hayden provided advance praise for the book.

In the book the authors happily take up the white geek’s burden. A liberal sprinkling of convenient, hypothetical dark-skinned worthies appear: Congolese fisherwomen, graphic designers in Botswana, anticorruption activists in San Salvador and illiterate Masai cattle herders in the Serengeti are all obediently summoned to demonstrate the progressive properties of Google phones jacked into the informational supply chain of the Western empire.

The authors offer an expertly banalized version of tomorrow’s world: the gadgetry of decades hence is predicted to be much like what we have right now — only cooler. “Progress” is driven by the inexorable spread of American consumer technology over the surface of the earth. Already, every day, another million or so Google-run mobile devices are activated. Google will interpose itself, and hence the United States government, between the communications of every human being not in China (naughty China). Commodities just become more marvelous; young, urban professionals sleep, work and shop with greater ease and comfort; democracy is insidiously subverted by technologies of surveillance, and control is enthusiastically rebranded as “participation”; and our present world order of systematized domination, intimidation and oppression continues, unmentioned, unafflicted or only faintly perturbed.

I’m doubtful about ever reading The New Digital Age. But, I can recommend reading all of this review by Julian Assange.

Nice to see the continual assaults by the bearers of American so-called justice haven’t silenced his contempt for Imperial agitprop.

Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge
Click to enlarge

What will future civilizations think of Manhattan Island when they dig it up and find a carefully laid out network of streets and avenues? Surely the grid would be presumed to have astronomical significance, just as we have found for the pre-historic circle of large vertical rocks known as Stonehenge, in the Salisbury Plain of England. For Stonehenge, the special day is the summer solstice, when the Sun rises in perfect alignment with several of the stones, signaling the change of season.

For Manhattan, a place where evening matters more than morning, that special day comes twice a year. For 2013 they fall on May 28th, and July 13th, when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid. A rare and beautiful sight. These two days happen to correspond with Memorial Day and Baseball’s All Star break. Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the Sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshiped War and Baseball.

Neil deGrasse Tyson rocks! This is the view from the East River.

Granny busted trying to smuggle heroin, cocaine in her wheelchair

A granny in a suspicious wheelchair was pulled over in Kennedy Airport by Customs inspectors who blocked her lame attempt to smuggle heroin and cocaine in the country…

Fior Daliza Garcia rolled off JetBlue flight No. 838 from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and immediately caught the attention of the federal officers.

Garcia, 58, appeared nervous to Customs and Border Protection inspectors who also noted that her wheelchair appeared to be “freshly painted,” according to a complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

She was escorted to a private room and transferred to another wheelchair. Her two suitcases appeared to be clean, so the inspectors focused on the wheelchair.

“During the subsequent search, CBP officers lifted (Garcia’s) wheelchair and noticed that it was unusually heavy and flimsy,” U.S. Homeland Security special agent Edward Romeo stated in the complaint.

Sure enough, the officers found a quantity of heroin and cocaine stashed in the “body” of the wheelchair.

Garcia, a grandmother from Boston, confessed that she was going to be paid $12,000 for smuggling the drugs here from the Dominican Republic…

She could buy a new wheelchair for every day of the week and then some – with that payoff. Now she’s stuck with prison-quality wheels.

Tea Party tries to rally Republicans against bi-partisan education standards overhaul

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Tea Party groups say they’re urging Republican governors to rethink supporting a bipartisan plan backed by President Obama to overhaul U.S. public schools…

“This is the issue that could change things for the Tea Party movement,” said Lee Ann Burkholder, founder of the 9/12 Patriots in York, Pa., which rallied 400 people to a recent meeting to discuss working against Common Core.

The White House has promoted Common Core, written by governors and state education officials in both parties and largely funded by the private Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to create consistent math and reading standards from kindergarten through 12th grade nationwide. The standards don’t dictate curriculum; states would determine the curriculum and how to prep students for standardized tests based on Common Core.

The standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia and are to be implemented by 2014.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican facing re-election next year, told the Post, “We didn’t see it coming with the intensity that it is, apparently all across the country.”

Supporters have expressed concern that a drop in state participation could weaken potential benefits, such as the ability to compare student test scores across states, while creating logistical hurdles for school districts developing curriculum and training teachers, the Washington Post said…

No surprise that a Georgia Republican craps his drawers when Noodnik Know-Nothings threaten him.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan voiced frustration with opposition over Common Core last week while on Capitol Hill, the Post said. He rejected comments by U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., that many of his constituents groused that federal money was used to “bribe” states to accept a “federal takeover of curriculum.”

“It’s not a black helicopter ploy and we’re not trying to get inside people’s minds and brains,” Duncan said.

Of course, trying to establish useful standards for education nationwide – instead of populist slogans – always threatens rightwingers who fear educated citizens almost as much as democracy or civil rights.

Surely they can find some way to include guns and religion into their desperate last-minute shriek.